Notes for Isa 23:1LEB

"ships of Tarshish." This probably refers to large ships either made in or capable of traveling to the distant western port of Tarshish.


The Hebrew text reads literally, "for it is destroyed, from a house, from entering." The translation assumes that the mem (ם) on בַּיִת (bayit) was originally an enclitic mem suffixed to the preceding verb. This assumption allows one to take בַּיִת as the subject of the preceding verb. It is used in a metaphorical sense for the port city of Tyre. The preposition min (מִן) prefixed to בּוֹא (bo’) indicates negative consequence: "so that no one can enter." See BDB 583 s.v. מִן 7.b.


"the Kittim," a designation for the people of Cyprus. See HALOT 504-05 s.v. כִּתִּיִּים.


Notes for Isa 23:2LEB

Or "keep quiet"; NAB "Silence!"


Notes for Isa 23:3LEB

The Hebrew text (23:2b–3a) reads literally, "merchant of Sidon, the one who crosses the sea, they filled you, and on the deep waters." Instead of מִלְאוּךְ (milukh, "they filled you") the Qumran scroll 1QIsa reads מלאכיך ("your messengers"). The translation assumes an emendation of מִלְאוּךְ to מַלְאָכָו (malakhav, "his messengers"), taking the vav (ו) on וּבְמַיִם (uvémayim) as improperly placed; instead it should be the final letter of the preceding word.


"seed of Shihor." "Shihor" probably refers to the east branch of the Nile. See Jer 2:18LEB and BDB 1009 s.v. שִׁיחוֹר.


"the harvest of the Nile."


"[is] her revenue."


"merchandise"; KJV, ASV "a mart of nations"; NLT "the merchandise mart of the world."


Notes for Isa 23:4LEB

J. N. Oswalt (Isaiah [NICOT], 1:430–31) sees here a reference to Yam, the Canaanite god of the sea. He interprets the phrase מָעוֹז הַיָּם (maoz hayyam, "fortress of the sea") as a title of Yam, translating "Mighty One of the Sea." A more traditional view is that the phrase refers to Sidon.


Or "virgins" (KJV, ASV, NAB, NASB).


The sea is personified here as a lamenting childless woman. The foreboding language anticipates the following announcement of Tyre’s demise, viewed here as a child of the sea, as it were.


Notes for Isa 23:5LEB

"they will be in pain at the report of Tyre."


Notes for Isa 23:7LEB

"Is this to you, boisterous one?" The pronoun "you" is masculine plural, like the imperatives in v. 6, so it is likely addressed to the Egyptians and residents of the coast. "Boisterous one" is a feminine singular form, probably referring to the personified city of Tyre.


"in the days of antiquity [is] her beginning."


Notes for Isa 23:8LEB

The precise meaning of הַמַּעֲטִירָה (hammaatirah) is uncertain. The form is a Hiphil participle from עָטַר (’atar), a denominative verb derived from עֲטָרָה (’atarah, "crown, wreath"). The participle may mean "one who wears a crown" or "one who distributes crowns." In either case, Tyre’s prominence in the international political arena is in view.


"the honored" (so NASB, NRSV); NIV "renowned."


Notes for Isa 23:9LEB

"the pride of all the beauty."


Notes for Isa 23:10LEB

This meaning of this verse is unclear. The Hebrew text reads literally, "Cross over your land, like the Nile, daughter of Tarshish, there is no more waistband." The translation assumes an emendation of מֵזַח (mezakh, "waistband") to מָחֹז (makhoz, "harbor, marketplace"; see Ps 107:30). The term עָבַר (’avar, "cross over") is probably used here of traveling over the water (as in v. 6). The command is addressed to personified Tarshish, who here represents her merchants. The Qumran scroll 1QIsa has עבדי ("work, cultivate") instead of עִבְרִי (’ivri, "cross over"). In this case one might translate "Cultivate your land, like they do the Nile region" (cf. NIV, CEV). The point would be that the people of Tarshish should turn to agriculture because they will no longer be able to get what they need through the marketplace in Tyre.


Notes for Isa 23:11LEB

"his hand he stretched out over the sea."


"the Lord." For stylistic reasons the pronoun ("he") has been used in the translation here.


"concerning Canaan, to destroy her fortresses." NIV, NLT translate "Canaan" as "Phoenicia" here.


Notes for Isa 23:12LEB

Or "violated, raped," the point being that Daughter Sidon has lost her virginity in the most brutal manner possible.


"[to the] Kittim, get up, cross over; even there there will be no rest for you." On "Kittim" see the note on "Cyprus" at v. 1.


Notes for Isa 23:13LEB

"this people [that] is not."


For the meaning of this word, see HALOT 118 s.v. בַּחוּן.


Or "laid bare." For the meaning of this word, see HALOT 889 s.v. ערר.


This verse probably refers to the Assyrian destruction of Babylon.


Notes for Isa 23:14LEB

"ships of Tarshish." See the note at v. 1.


Notes for Isa 23:15LEB

Or "in that day" (KJV). The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on "in the future" in Isa 2:2LEB.


The number seventy is probably used in a stereotypical, nonliteral sense here to indicate a long period of time that satisfies completely the demands of Yahweh's judgment.


"like the days of a king."


"At the end of seventy years it will be for Tyre like the song of the prostitute."


Notes for Isa 23:16LEB

"so you will be remembered."


Notes for Isa 23:17LEB

The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on "in the future" in 2:2.


"visit [with favor]" (cf. KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV); NIV "will deal with."


"and she will return to her [prostitute’s] wages and engage in prostitution with all the kingdoms of the earth on the face of the earth."


Notes for Isa 23:18LEB

"for eating to fullness and for beautiful covering[s]."


The point of this verse, which in its blatant nationalism comes precariously close to comparing Yahweh to one who controls or manages a prostitute, is that Tyre will become a subject of Israel and her Yahweh. Tyre’s commercial profits will be used to enrich Yahweh’s people.